Sunday, December 28, 2014

Culinary Capers: African Chicken Peanut Stew (Week 1)

In week 1, I tried African Chicken Peanut Stew.   I think I bit off more than I could chew, literally.    The recipe seemed straightforward enough, but it was the first time I'd used canned tomatoes, ginger root, and peanut butter in a dish.

The dish called for browning the chicken legs in oil in a skillet before adding it to the stew ingredients.  I browned about 5 drumsticks for this purpose, but I wasn't confident that they were done all the way through.  While the dish called for adding the chicken to the stew bone-in, I opted to remove the chicken from the bone before adding to the stew, so I could inspect that the chicken was thoroughly cooked.  And sure enough, one of the five drumsticks was undercooked with blood at the bone.  Would the chicken have finished cooking in the stew?  In hindsight, probably so, but I threw the bloody piece out.

I like to think I have an adventurous palette, but the finished dish, which I served in a bowl with jasmine rice, made me a little nauseous. I couldn't quite put my finger on the culprit. I tried the dish again as leftovers the next day and still had the same feeling.  Then, I went back and reviewed the recipe, which called for cooking for 1 hour and 55 minutes--except I only cooked it for 55 minutes.  I suppose that's what puts the stew in stew!  I'm thinking that the ingredients didn't have a chance to fully combine together because I removed the heat too early.  Reading is fundamental.

I'll try this dish again in April, but I learned a couple of things here:


  1. When browning the chicken legs in the skillet, I'll cook them longer and leave the bone-in.
  2. I would've preferred more bites of chicken in the stew.  Next time, I'll add a couple of more drumsticks next time.
  3. Knives!  In removing the fat from the chicken, I realized my knife game sucks!  I need to invest in some proper knives.
  4. I didn't thoroughly peel the skin off of the onion and the ginger root, which left annoying bits of skin in bites of the stew.  I'll be more meticulous about peeling them in the future.
  5. While I've always hated seeing people post pictures of plates, I need to take pictures.
On to week 2!

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